This year’s Heritage Center event began on Friday, October 2 at Gammon Theological Seminary campus and concluded with worship at Central UMC Sunday, October 4, 2009. Gammon, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is the only Historic African American Seminary supported by the United Methodist Church. This year’s theme was “The Journey: History as a Bridge to the Future.” Our plenary speaker was Dr. William B. McClain, who shared “Why Preserve Our History? Importance and Nature of African American Methodist Roots.” This was an excellent overview given by Dr. McClain, who was featured on the Legacy of Faith video produced by the General Board of Communications and chaired the committee that produced the Songs of Zion publication.
Other workshops and leaders proceeded with the following: Mrs. Marilyn McGee Talbert, “What is Our Story? The Developing Story of African Americans in the Methodism, Before and After Central Jurisdiction”; Dr. Robert J. William, General Board Secretary for Archives and History, “How Do We Tell Our Story? The Nuts and Bolts of Writing and Preserving Church History”; Bishop Alfred Norris, “The Unique Story of Gammon and our Historical Black Institutions”; Dr. Rosetta Ross, “How to Research African American Methodist History”; Ms. Nancy Watkins, “How to Preserve Local Church History”; Ms. Michelle Brooks, “How to Promote and Involve the Local Church in its Heritage”; Dr. J. Gordon Melton, writer of the book The Will To Choose, whose presentation was on the opening day for the Gammon Founders Day Lecture October 5-8. The Heritage Center event became a beautiful correspondence with the Gammon Founders Day theme, “Embracing Change: Raising New Leaders.”
I encourage our Kentucky African American Methodist Churches to be good care takers of their own local history and have creative ways to celebrate your stories through church anniversaries, homecomings, or by having a Methodist Heritage Sunday. You can support the work of the AAM Heritage Center as well as download speeches or order CDs presentations by the following contact: African American Methodist Heritage Center, 36 Madison Ave, P.O. Box 127, Madison, NJ 07940; (973) 494-3322; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or website: aamhc-umc.org. Bishop Forrest C. Stith, President.
Rev. Alvin R. Goodwin
Pastor, Garrs Lane UMC